The True Costs of BYOD

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Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies continue to be adopted by businesses of all sizes, with 72 percent currently saying they support BYOD, according to CIO Insight. Cost savings is one reason for companies to go this route. A look below the surface of these costs is needed to see if BYOD is right for your company.

The Employee Costs

These are the costs that one sees at the start of the BYOD discussion. Especially for companies that are accustomed to purchasing smartphones and voice/data plans for employees, the lure of BYOD is that the employee now covers the costs of the phone or tablet and the plan.

On average, employees will spend $965 on their smartphones and tablets and another $734 on the voice/data plans, Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group says. These costs will translate into the expense reduction only for a company already paying for these items. A company new to supporting mobile devices won’t see these savings.

Employees also pay for any maintenance of their devices, upgrades or add on devices. Someone with a smartphone may choose to add a tablet to their plan and they will be responsible for the costs.

The Company Costs

About half of the companies that support BYOD cover some or all of the costs of equipment and plans, reports a Gartner Research survey. This is where one hidden cost can reduce the savings. For a company that once provided voice/data plans, the employees are now paying for their individual plans without the benefit of the company’s volume discounts.

The hidden costs of BYOD says this increase in plan prices can be significant, nearly $200 for each device, states There are also the costs of handling expense reports for employees being reimbursed.

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The other significant cost is the overall management of devices so that company information is kept secure. Bring your own device from BlackBerry balances the end-user and corporate needs by keeping corporate data and apps protected, and users can switch from Personal to Work spaces easily. For a large company with the infrastructure already in place to control mobile device access, this may not be much of a switch. For a small company that must implement every control from scratch, this could offset any perceived cost savings.

The Company Benefit

For a large company that has had a policy of giving employees smartphones and/or tablets, they will see some expenses shift from their books to the employees. The larger savings they may see from making changes to their support model.

Cisco implemented a large-scale BYOD effort which included many self-service support functions, reports Enterprise Networking Planet. Instead of employees calling the Cisco help desk, they were able to troubleshoot their own problems, often with the help of other employees. They created the concept of a Social Support community that was made up of self-service apps and other employees. With this, Cisco said they reduced their support costs by 25 percent.

A small business without the IT staff or infrastructure to support mobile device access will be at risk of data issues if controls aren’t put in place. It can face large costs if the systems are put in place to support just a small number of employees. There are perceived cost savings due to an increase in employee productivity, notes Forbes. For a small business that will train employees on a BYOD policy and make them fully aware of data security, it could implement BYOD with less risk and gain from the employee satisfaction and productivity increase.


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